Archived Story

Has freedom survived?

Published 9:16am Wednesday, July 16, 2014

This past July Fourth marked another cherished legacy of American independence. Freedom is America’s animating principle and greatest strength. Freedom’s task, however, requires vigilance and perseverance to survive. The plain fact is that it’s harder to be free than not to be free. Pulsating within America is a gathering crisis of sustaining freedom. Nations are most vulnerable after a period of strength, creating a presumption of invulnerability, with complacency its offspring.

In his 2013 Ohio State University commencement address, President Obama’s hubris yielded an incredibly misguided statement regarding tyranny by mocking voices warning of the potential sinister nature of government. He then states, “…these same voices also do their best to gum up the works. They’ll warn that tyranny is always lurking just around the corner. You should reject these voices.” Unfortunately for the president, but fortunately for Americans, our Founders were the first to sound that clarion call of warning. George Washington cautioned, “A government is like a fire, a handy servant, but a dangerous master.” Thomas Jefferson admonished, “The strongest reason for people to retain the right to bear arms is, as a last resort, to protect themselves against tyranny in government.” What a shock that our Founding Fathers were so paranoid. They so distrusted an overbearing government that it was broken into three branches to check and balance each other.

In 2008 the president promised to “transform America” and as an Illinois legislator referred to the constitution as “fundamentally flawed.” His “I’ve got a pen” pronouncement last January exemplifies a disregard for our constitutional system. With impunity he asserts presidential power by implementing executive orders, often overriding the rule of law. “We the people” has been supplanted with “I the president,” exemplifying leadership at which America is fundamentally at odds.

With all its shortcomings, Congress is still composed of the people’s representatives. Bypassing elected representatives equates with by-passing the people. In bypassing their citizenry, rulers become indicative of dictators and kings, not presidents.

This administration’s blighted path of scandals and political overreach diminishes America’s integrity, becoming more emblematic of a banana republic than a constitutional republic. Nearly 240 years ago America’s freedom was initiated, but in sustaining freedom, the verdict hangs in the balance.

Kent Larson

Stewartville